Political Philosophy: Ideas and Ideology Chapter 6 – Political Science 100 June 10th, 2014
Why is Political Philosophy Important • Early thought influences later events (Marx, Nietzsche, Qutb) • It can inform our base interpretation of our societies (Rousseau, Locke, Montesquieu) • Practical implications (Astell, Wollstonecraft, Stuart Mill) • Address big questions and ask, of us, what we believe ought to be
Are Humans Inherently Good? Or inherently Evil? • Good • Aristotle (social creatures), Rousseau (private world (accumulation of goods) perverts inherent good), Plato (people are good if they know the ‘truth’), Green (work toward the welfare of others), Marx (dialectical advancement) • Bad • Hobbes (nasty, brutish and short – civil society), Saint Augustine (original sin), Nietzshe (power) • Why does it matter? • Right vs Left, organization
Definitions! • Conservatism: preference of the status quo over change, especially social, economic and political. Slow, evolutionary change is good change. Fast, revolutionary change is bad. • Some irony with this… • Liberalism: Individual freedom. As rational beings, individuals can make intelligent decisions about how to live their life best. • Old school versus new school liberals…this gets complicated.
Are Humans Equal? • Egalitarianism – Equity vs Equality • Yes • Locke, Montesquieu, Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence…well, sort of) • No • Plato (philosopher kings), Hobbes (kings), Nietzsche (master race…well, sort of), Burke (Aristocracy) • Does it matter? • conservatives vs liberals; free market vs government; gender, sexuality, race, religion
Egalitarianism Cont… • How much inequality is okay? • Liberals: • Differentiation of rights • Affirmative action… • Social inequality • Socialists disagree… • Seek elimination inequality entirely • “equality of condition” • State intervention in economic system • Strong unions • High taxes, redistribution of wealth
More Definitions! • Socialism: “advocating economic equality of the classes and the use of government to serve the collective good…Socialists value the collective good over the interest of individuals, and thus emphasize cooperation over competition. Socialists support a positive role for government in the economy.” • Wide variety of opinions on how to undertake change – dominant group are social democrats.
Extreme Egalitarianism… • Communists • Social democrats know nothing, experiment bound to fail • Problem is capitalist system • Central planning and control of the economy • “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” • Capitalism: “means of production are privately owned…production, investment, and distribution of resources are determined according to market forces”
Non-Economic Egalitarianism • Race • Gender • Sexuality
Power Corrupts? • Top-down or bottom-up? • Liberal reaction against elite dominance • Checks and balances, protection • Primary philosophy: Laissez-Faire “intellectual foundation for free-market capitalism” • “Invisible hand of the market” and the people • Government still has a role • Rights and Property
Types of Freedom? • Positive Freedom: Conditions allow the individual to reach their full potential (Freedom to; differentiated equality; government intervention). Writers: Marx, Rousseau, Rawls • Negative Freedom: Freedoms are found in a lack of constraint from government, only then is the individual ‘free’ (Freedom from; equity; neo-liberalism). Writers: Mill, Locke, Nozick
John Stuart Mill • Harm Principle • Government intervention only justified when another may come to harm. • Tyranny of the Majority • Abuse of minority at hands of majority • Too much equality (especially in voting) is bad • Constitutions • Sometimes this isn’t enough…McCarthyism • Post 9/11
Power and Authority • What are the types of power? • Where is power derived? • Who has the right to wield it? • What are the responsibility of those that wield it?
Ideology and Dogma • Ideology: “fairly coherent set of beliefs that not only explains what may be wrong with society, but also provides a vision of what society should be like” – Dyck • An aggregation of ideas • Accessible/political parties • Psychological cheat/shortcut • Dogma: Arguing for a point, with no evidence. Rather, truth is found in (political) faith.
Ideology as Force? • Being ideological • Positive or negative? • The non-ideological pragmatist • Marx and the False Consciousness • Control through ideology
The Left and the Right • From a French seating chart (French Revolution) • The End of Ideology, Moderates and Extremists • Progressive vs Conservative • Role of Government • Equity and Equality • Freedom • IR • Values – Family; Immigration; Crime and Punishment
NeoCons and NeoLibs • Neo-Liberalism • Laissez-Faire Economy • Socially progressive (or at least advocate that “government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”) • Some “Conservative” political parties are actually neo-liberal • Neo-Conservatism • Laissez-Fair Economy • Social Conservatism • Contradiction? • Change
Considering the Extreme • Left and Right can be quite similar • Radical Change • While promote different ideals, outcomes often look similar • Fascism and Communism • State Power • Many examples of resurgent ‘extreme’ right in Europe • North America, less so (kind of) – Political System
Other Extremes and Other ‘isms’ • State control versus no control – not really left or right, so where does it fit? • Feminism? • Environmentalism? • Populism? • Nationalism?
The Political Compass • www.politicalcompass.org
World Leaders? Citation: www.politicalcompass.org
US Leaders Source: politicalcompass.org/uselection2012
Canadian Political Parties Source: politicalcompass.org/canada2011
Me… Source: Politicalcompass.org